The gaming industry once again is going to be delighted with the possibilities that low-latency 5G technology brings. 5G is advancing the capabilities of Virtual Reality (VR) to deliver truly immersive experiences in a way that 4G can't.
At this year's, Nokia and Intel let attendees become Spiderman with the new Spiderman: Far from Home VR experience powered by 5G. The game was specially designed for MWC attendees in advance to the release of Sony Pictures' Spiderman: Far from Home in July 2019.
Sony Pictures Virtual Reality (SPVR), Nokia, and Intel joined forces to create immersive experiences that engage audiences like never before. Thanks to 5G technology, media and entertainment can envision new business opportunities and lovers of VR content can become active participants in what is the world's first multi-player Virtual Reality environment over 5G.
"5G will take us beyond traditional uses of media," says Sandra Rivera, Senior Vice-President, General Manager, Network Platforms Group at Intel. "Enabling experiences like this requires a data-centric approach that goes beyond faster wireless communication. It's about moving mass amounts of data and bringing processing closer to where the content is being created or consumed," she says.
According to Rivera, Intel's collaboration with Sony Pictures and Nokia is a great example of how 5G and edge computing will enable industries to think beyond today's capabilities, reach new audiences, and better engage with existing ones.
Spiderman multi-player VR over a 5G connection: The experience
At MWC Barcelona, Interesting Engineering is one of the first getting first-hand experience of what it feels like to be Spiderman --or Spiderwoman, in this case.
First, I had to choose a suit from four options. After getting familiar with the controls and the virtual environment I am ready to run, jump, climb, and web sling through skyscrapers in New York racing against other players in real-time. The other players are located at Intel's booth. I am at Nokia's booth. The two booths are connected by a 5G radio connection using Nokia AirScale and Intel 5G mobile trial platform.
At first, getting close to the edge of the building --in my Virtual Reality experience wearing an Oculus Rift-- gets a little scary. I repeat to myself 'it's not real' a couple of times before I am ready to jump. A few trees and walls later, I start climbing and swinging. Practice is everything.
At the same time, I realize the potential of this technology and how it can be used in education and training as well as in industrial design.
Nokia's Mike Moore explains how this VR multiplayer game is enabled over 5G and Edge cloud. "Only with 5G, it's possible to achieve the low-latency required to synchronize multiplayer Virtual Reality games. This is done over a 5G network between the Nokia booth and the Intel booth," he says.
"Another factor that comes into this for reducing latency is also the use of the Edge cloud. The concept of the Edge cloud is to locate your computer and your acceleration as close to the end user as possible in order to minimize latency," says Moore.
The Spiderman experience was one of the highlights at MWC Barcelona showcasing 5G technology in a memorable way.
The technology behind Spiderman's multi-player VR experience
The Spiderman experience showcases how 5G is going to unleash a new generation of immersive media experiences that are going to reshape the media industry changing the way we create, consume, and share content.
The multiplayer VR experience utilizes the Nokia 5GFuture X architecture, which is the only globally available end-to-end 5G solution. The experience's 5G radio connection uses Nokia AirScale and Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform as well as edge cloud using Nokia AirFrame powered by the Intel Xeon Scalable family of processors. The VR experience was developed by CreateVR.
"As service providers deploy 5G, they are looking to offer new, compelling applications and services to help create new revenue. This Virtual Reality experience running over the industry's only globally available end-to-end 5G solution will show what 5G is truly capable of, and its potential to capture the imagination of key audience such as mobile gamers," says Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia.
Sony Pictures has partnered with Nokia and Intel to explore how 5G and Edge cloud technologies can enable innovative high-throughput, high-definition, immersive experiences of its iconic Spiderman, a hero everyone loves.
The main difference with other VR applications is that while others serve a single user, this multi-player experience employs some key capabilities of 5G. It offers low-latency to ensure seamless collaborative gameplay and high capacity to operate at massive scale with mobility.
"5G is opening a pipeline for amazingly rich and deep, immersive experiences for global audiences," says Jake Zim, Senior VP of Virtual Reality at Sony Pictures. "Fans around the world have long imagined what it would be like to thwip a web off the top of a skyscraper and swing through a city as Spiderman, the world's favorite superhero."
Spiderman: Far from Home: The movie
In this next chapter, we follow Peter Parker as he decides to take a break from his busy life as a superhero to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the others on a vacation that takes them to London, Venice, and more in Europe.
However, when he agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks his dream of a peaceful vacation enjoying the marvels in the old continent transforms into one exciting adventure. One that you wouldn't like to miss.
Spiderman is based on the MARVEL Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The film is produced by Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal. Starring Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spiderman, directed by Jon Watts on a screenplay by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers. The film will be released on July 5 in U.S. theaters.